Below is a statement from New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes on the subsidy overhaul bill that was moved out of the Senate Budget Committee today.
Today the Senate Budget Committee released the Economic Opportunity Act (A-3680/S-2583), a bill that would overhaul and expand New Jersey’s corporate subsidy programs. As NJPP has shown, the volume of subsidies awarded in recent years has skyrocketed as lawmakers have grasped in desperation for anything to improve the state’s economy. But the economy is still fragile, despite the increasing reliance on subsidies as the foremost economic development tool. If this bill passes, New Jersey will likely continue awarding over $1 billion in subsidies a year, a rate that will continue to drain crucial state revenues.
Doubling down on a tool that has at best a marginal effect on job creation, all while maintaining an austerity agenda in other areas of spending, is not smart economic policy. New Jersey’s lawmakers need to make subsidies just a small part of the state’s job-creation strategy, and begin investing in the other tools – like education, infrastructure and other public goods – that will create good jobs and a strong, prosperous state.
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